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The U.S. Department of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on October 28 revealed the preliminary top 10 most-frequent workplace safety violations for 2009 as part of a presentation at the NSC's annual Congress & Expo. The number of top 10 violations has increased almost 30 percent over the same time period in 2008.
"We appreciate our colleagues at OSHA presenting their new violation data to such a receptive audience," said National Safety Council president and CEO Janet Froetscher. "The sheer number of violations gives us new resolve in raising awareness about the importance of having sounds safety procedures."
The workplace violations are:
1. Scaffolding – 9,093 violations
Scaffold accidents most often result from the planking or support giving way, or from the employee slipping or being struck by a falling object.
2. Fall Protection – 6,771 violations
Any time a worker is at a height of 4 feet or more, the worker is at risk and needs to be protected. Fall protection must be provided at four feet in general industry, 5 feet in maritime and 6 feet in construction.
3. Hazard Communication – 6,378 violations
Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import, and prepare labels and safety data sheets to convey the hazard information to their downstream customers.
4. Respiratory Protection – 3,803 violations
Respirators protect workers against insufficient oxygen environments, harmful dusts, fogs, smokes, mists, gases, vapors and sprays. These hazards may cause cancer, lung impairment, other diseases or death.
5. Lockout/Tagout – 3,321 violations
"Lockout/Tagout" refers to specific practices and procedures to safeguard employees from the unexpected startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.
6. Electrical (Wiring) – 3,079 violations
Working with electricity can be dangerous. Engineers, electricians and other professionals work with electricity directly, including working on overhead lines, cable harnesses, and circuit assemblies. Others, such as office workers and sales people, work with electricity indirectly and may also be exposed to electrical hazards.
7. Ladders – 3,072 violations
Occupational fatalities caused by falls remain a serious public health problem. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) lists falls as one of the leading causes of traumatic occupational death, accounting for eight percent of all occupational fatalities from trauma.
8. Powered Industrial Trucks – 2,993 violations
Each year, tens of thousands of injuries related to powered industrial trucks (PIT), or forklifts, occur in U.S. workplaces. Many employees are injured when lift trucks are inadvertently driven off loading docks, lifts fall between docks and an unsecured trailer, they are struck by a lift truck, or when they fall while on elevated pallets and tines.
9. Electrical – 2,556 violations
Working with electricity can be dangerous. Engineers, electricians, and other professionals work with electricity directly, including working on overhead lines, cable harnesses and circuit assemblies. Others, such as office workers and sales people, work with electricity indirectly and may also be exposed to electrical hazards.
10. Machine Guarding – 2,364 violations
Any machine part, function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded. When the operation of a machine or accidental contact injures the operator or others in the vicinity, the hazards must be eliminated or controlled.
The final report on the Top 10 for 2009 violations will be published in the December edition of NSC's Safety+Health magazine.
The National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads, through leadership, research, education and advocacy.